Sunday, June 30, 2013

George Carey speaks his mind

I came across the following quote by George Carey reported by Gene Healy of the Cato Institute on a website called Front Porch Republic.

I quickly found out how much the Bush years had radicalized him. I remember his words better than the place—I think it was over burgers at the Tombs, surrounded by World War I propaganda posters—where he said to me: “I want—and I’m very serious about this—I want to see Bush and Cheney impeached, removed from office, then put on trial as war criminals.” To hear this from someone as genial, gentlemanly, and temperamentally conservative as George Carey was electrifying—like hearing Jimmy Stewart curse a righteous blue streak.

Suddenly I don't feel so alone. 
RIP, Mr. Carey

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Two quotes from Lord Acton

Everything secret degenerates, even the administration of justice;  nothing is safe that does not show how it can bear discussion and publicity.

There is no error so monstrous that it fails to find defenders among the ablest men.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

On Freedom

Recent developments compel me to re-publish the following  post at this time.  It is even more important now than it was when posted in 2011.

There are  two generations in the United States today who have never known true freedom.  The best example of proof for this statement is the ambivalent response to the release of documents by Wikileaks.  Some people welcome it as exactly right.  Some consider it a traitorous act.  Most are made uneasy by it with shifting feelings of "it's good"  or "maybe not so good."
I don't understand why people are willing to say that they don't need to know everything our government does or plans to do.  Is it the label of SECRET that frightens them?  Or is it the burden of knowing?
In 1955, there was a re-issue of a book titled Generation of Vipers by Philip Wylie.  When this book first appeared in December 1942 it was controversial.  Partly this was due to Mr Wylie speaking his mind in the midst of a world war.  It was also due to his original and iconclastic thought and plain expression thereof.
Mr Wylie wrote a number of footnotes for the re-issue of 1955.  The following is one of those footnotes.  It appears in the last chapter of the book.

"We can have one categorical premise only:  the democratic premise - leaving no room for any other - demanding the right to all information as the route to all understanding and judgment, and transcending in private, national and international existence all special pleading..
It is the steady loss of this right which, since 1945, has caused me to assert in every possible medium that liberty is perishing in U.S.A.  Common man did not see, after Hiroshima, that to make any part of abstract science a secret was to deny to all mankind access to basic truth.  Uncommon man, a very few physicists excepted, did not see that formidable point, either.  And neither group perceived that a little start at making mere knowledge secret would inevitably spread, so that much knowledge would soon be hidden, much policy would in consequence be shaped in secret, and the people would no longer be "properly informed" wherefore able to make "appropriate decdisions" - indeed, any decisions.
In 1945, and every since, I have published the view that a failure of the Soviets to enter into an open, free, inspected world community of scientific knowledge, including what is called "military secrets" must be regarded by the American people as an intolerable affront to American freedom and therefore an obligatory cause for ultimatum.  I have continuingly pointed out that the only alternative - a secret America - a land where even the elected representatives no longer can be "cleared" to learn all the facts, truths and data relevant to good government - leads to what in effect amounts to dictatorship, since it is not free and open government.
I have said that such a condition - recognized or not - would breed increasing fear in a people thitherto accustomed to knowing (by their constitutional rights) all the facts.  I have said that their automatic terror -conscious or not- would lead the people of this country into a state of hysteria - a state of inappropriate response, a state in which some would become apathetic to every peril, othes would seek to vent their unidentified terror by punishing "whipping boys,"  and still others would try to escape by attitudes of "eat, drink and be merry," or by plunging into religious paroxysms- "trusting" God to accomplish duties they would not themselves even face, or embracing fugue and fantasy-imagining that "it can't happen here" or that little men from outer space would save us from the bombs.
As early as 1946, I named the years to come - these years- "The Terror"  (always providing we kept failing to see that a secret Russia, by compelling secrecy on U.S.A., abrogated our basic freedom to know).  The hysterias I predicted are manifest in our national life today.  So far, we have failed to see that awful meaning of our lost liberty;  we have failed to take the formidable, self-evident steps against Russia;  we have failed even to realize that we are now a kind of permissive "dictatorship" wherein the man in the street no longer controls his government because he no longer knows what "secrets" effect its policies, its plans, its expenditures, and so on.
It is not surprising, then, that we exhibit the classical forms of hysteria on a wide scale -or that we do not appreciate these symptoms for what they are:  such self-blindness is one symptom of the familiar disease.
There is no such thing as a free and uninformed people;  there is not even such a thing as a free press in a land of government by restriction and classification.  Without all knowledge, liberty expires;  so all of us who think we are still free are bitterly deluded."

Friday, June 7, 2013

Who are we anyway?

Spare me all the bluster, please, about the 'harvesting' of phone calls from Verizon.  Do you believe it is only Verizon? 
There is no reason to be shocked if you are someone who reads a daily newspaper and an occasional book.
Nuggets of news about US Government intrusion into our lives appear almost monthly.
Just last month, you should have read this from a former FBI agent.
In 2010, Dana Priest and William Arkin provided a comprehensive survey of the total national security complex.  The survey consisted of five daily reports in the Washington Post.
Here are some nuggets of news from that report:

"The top secret world the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001 has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work.
Some 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies work on programs related to counter terrorism, homeland security, and intelligence in about 10,000 locations across the United States.
An estimated 854,000 people, nearly 1.5 times as many people as live in Washington DC, hold top secret clearances.
In Washington and the surrounding area, 33 building complexes for top secret intelligence work are under construction or have been built since September 2001.  Together they occupy the equivalent of almost 3 Pentagons or 92 U.S. Capitol buildings - about 17 million square feet of space."

Since early in the Bush administration and into the Obama administration, Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon has repeatedly complained about the interception of phone calls and emails by NSA and other Government agencies.

Everything required for a police state exists in these United States, is in place and ready to use.  It is a system that has been constructed over the years by both parties and by many different politicians good and bad. The Patriot Act, the National Defense Authorization Act, and a number of Presidential Signing Statements are the foundation for this new more dangerous America.
Unless one wants to be considered as unknowing and out-of-touch, how could any American not know or, at least, suspect that our Government was collecting our phone calls and emails?

June 7, 2010

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Our world in stupor lies...

Thus wrote the poet Auden, and the words are as true 74 years later as they were when written.

An example:  five decades ago, when I was in my twenties, enterprising hard-working young Americans could work their way through college, paying their tuition costs from their efforts.
That is no longer true.  Now Americans are required to obtain 'student loans' and incur debt running to thousands of dollars.
No one asks why or how come?  No one protests. 
What went wrong?  No one seems to care.
'Our world in stupor lies...' 

It has been remarked by one of the most astute minds in America (Chris Hedges) that if France told its young people that from now on they would have to borrow $50,000 to pay for college, the government would be gone in a week.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Revolutionary (poem by Vernon Watkins)

The Revolutionary

I was that youth.  Now, from myself estranged,
After the revolution I was seeking,
I stop stone dead, to hear another speaking:
'Change nothing; you yourself must first be changed.'
I travelled seas and learnt to read a chart,
Knew how to navigate through dispossession,
The hardest straits, yet wrote in my confessions:
'All triumph was resisted by the heart.'
Much evil and much good remain, and yet
The heart has no immaculate remedy.
Life, to be won, is won less easily;
The stars remind us:'Your own eyes are set.'
Say of this patience that impatience gained;
'When others left their station, he remained.'